Now less than two weeks away from the scheduled opening of the Greencastle Aquatic Center for the season, that starting date is about as uncertain as the opening-day weather.
That's because it appears likely that the new poolside lift, required by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has been back-ordered and likely will be a week and a half late in arriving for the 2012 pool season, Park Superintendent Rod Weinschenk said.
"Although the tentative delivery date is after the scheduled (pool season) opening, I am hoping that this will not hinder the opening of the pool on Memorial Day weekend," Weinschenk told the Park Board at its recent May meeting.
Public parks all across the country are scrambling to install mechanical chair lifts to comply with new federal requirements that all public pools be accessible to disabled swimmers. Greencastle is no different.
"We are still shooting for (an opening date of) Saturday, May 26," Weinschenk said, reminding everyone that the pool is scheduled to open that day at 11 a.m. for adult lap swim, followed by open swimming starting at noon.
The new ADA standards require that public pools nationwide establish one or two accessible points of entry. Those can include a pool lifts or sloped points of entry, depending on the pool's size.
May 21 was set as the date of compliance, however, many pools around Indiana have been filing for extensions because of the availability issues regarding the required lifts.
"I am still awaiting a tentative delivery date for the ADA lift," Weinschenk told the Banner Graphic. "I will solicit an extension once I have that information."
Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2010 mandate that public pools must be upgraded with chair lifts, essentially mini cranes that move wheelchair users into the water. Initially the deadline was March 16, but confusion over details and pool operators' demands for more time caused the Justice Department to give them until May 21.
It's certainly a large and expensive undertaking. The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals says its research shows that between 235,000 and 310,000 pools require the upgrade. Manufacturers estimate the lifts run $3,500 to $6,500.
The Greencastle Parks and Recreation has ordered a $6,739 portable aquatic lift from Spear Corp., Roachdale, which has been helping the city meets the requirements at the local aquatic center. The lift also comes with a cover and spine board attachment.
It must be attached to the pool deck along the edge of the water where the water is precisely four feet in depth.
"It has to be exactly four feet," Weinschenk said, "not three feet, eight inches; not four feet, one inch. Four feet. That's it."
The chair lift is set to be installed at the southeast corner of the facility where the main pool area meets the water slide section.
Meanwhile, the 2012 pool staff was also approved by the Park Board.
Stephanie Hoffa will be the 2012 pool manager, returning after a stint in Florida as a YMCA director. She had been a manager at the local pool in 2008.
Nick Stevens will be first assistant pool manager with Sara Culler as second assistant manager and Meagan Allen serving as the concessions manager.
Alexandra Stoffregen will be in charge of admissions.
Hired as lifeguards were: Luke Smith, Brianna Adams, Mitchell Ball, Isaac Harms, Spencer Moore, Hunter Smith, Taylor Arnold, Brockman Guinee, Ryan Raupp, Jacob Hendershot, John McCammack, Nathan Gardner, Emily Wheeler, Kristen Stevens, Elijah Brattain, Melissa Ball, Jason Ummel, Sarah Beams, Sydney Cassida and Jenna Greeson.
Admissions personnel with lifeguard certification include Taylor Secrest, Zachary Secrest and Mitchell Johnson.
In other pool-related business, the Park Board approved the addition of aqua zumba classes at the pool to be taught by Tara Gardner, who was recently authorized as an official aqua zumba instructor.
Three classes per week are scheduled for 7-8 a.m. Tuesdays, 8:15-9:15 p.m. Thursdays and 8-9 a.m. Saturdays. The costs will be $6 to the general public per class or $3 if they own a season pool pass.
The board agreed to $30 per hour and a family pool pass as compensation for Gardner.